Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson has named Mark Rubin, whose ambitious and daring approach to development changed the face of Riverside from Mission Grove to Downtown, as the founding recipient of the city’s new Innovation Award.
Rubin, who died nearly two years ago, made Riverside his home away from home, building everything from residential projects that created the Mission Grove and Orangecrest neighborhoods to the Citrus Tower Class-A office space along Highway 91 to The Mark, a mixed-use residential and commercial project downtown across from the Fox Performing Arts Center.
Rubin created the first new housing in downtown Riverside in decades when he built the Mission Village and Raincross Promenade projects just north of the convention center. He and his wife, Pam, were strong supporters of the UCR Medical School, giving millions to make it a reality.
Lock Dawson will present the award posthumously to Rubin’s daughter, Michelle Rubin, President of Regional Properties, at the upcoming Mayor’s State of the City Address on Jan. 26.
“Mark Rubin long ago became an honorary Riversider because of his ability to envision a city that far exceeds what we were when he came to town,” Lock Dawson said. “His vision transformed the eastern part of our city into a home for thousands of new residents, and his developments raised the bar on what people thought was possible for Riverside.”
The Rubins were known for their support for education and healthcare, repeatedly giving to UC Riverside helping to pave the way for innovative programs and projects, such as helping to grow the California Museum of Photography, establishing an alumni and visitors center at UCR and helping create the Center for Environmental Research & Technology, or CE-CERT. They began supporting the idea of a UCR Medical School three decades ago, and their generosity created the Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the School of Medicine. Mark Rubin was a UCR Trustee from 2017 until his death.
A Holocaust survivor, Rubin was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937. When the Nazis invaded, his family went into hiding but were discovered two years later and shipped by train to the Terezin concentration camp on the outskirts of Prague. More than 150,000 Jews were held there before being sent to Treblinka and Auschwitz to die.
The Rubin family was liberated a year later. In 1948, they emigrated to New York City. They moved to California in 1953, and 16-year-old Mark Rubin got a job as a laborer on a construction site. That began a path on which Rubin eventually built Regional Properties into a thriving business.
In addition to supporting local colleges and universities, Rubin served on Riverside’s Downtown Partnership board, the Mission Inn Foundation board and supported the Riverside County Philharmonic.
The Innovation Award is given to a group or individual who epitomizes the spirit that helps make Riverside the City of Arts and Innovation. The first award will be given by Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson at her first in-person State of the City Address, which is themed “Riverside By Design.”